Microsoft revealed its next-generation mammoth of a game console, the Xbox Series X, during The Game Awards 2019, but it appears that is just one of a few consoles that will be available. As such, this generation, we’ll just be calling the system “Xbox.”
Speaking to Business Insider, a Microsoft representative said this generation’s line of systems will be “Xbox,” much like “Xbox One” was used this generation despite the later release of the Xbox One S and Xbox One X consoles. Xbox Series X will be the first of these, with the representative adding that it “adds room for additional consoles in the future.”
It’s branding similar to what you might see on a phone or car, but the difference with video games is that software is compatible with a select version of the systems. If a customer asks for the latest game on “Xbox,” for example, that could mean either Xbox One or the latest system, and it’s something that Microsoft will have to make very clear in its marketing in order to avoid confusion. Nintendo failed to do this effectively when it first launched the Wii U, even resulting in Jimmy Fallon falsely stating that it was a peripheral for the Wii during a television appearance.
Microsoft’s statement also seems to confirm that a second version of its next-generation Xbox is indeed in the works. We’ve heard that the system, allegedly called “Lockhart” internally, will have about one-third the processing power of its big sibling and will not feature a disc drive. This will make it significantly cheaper, allowing players with smaller budgets to still have access to the latest Xbox games. It will also be perfect for leveraging the power of Microsoft’s Project xCloud streaming service, which will also be compatible with devices like mobile phones to give players console-quality gaming experiences on the go.
Microsoft’s need to get creative with each generation of Xbox is rooted in its decision to call the second console the Xbox 360 instead of “Xbox 2.” Sony has never suffered from this problem, with simple naming conventions each generation making it crystal clear which system a game will support.